A review of Emirates First Class A380 flight EK419 from Auckland to Sydney, travelling in a First Class Suite, with an infant.
|Route:||Auckland to Sydney|
|Flight duration:||3 hours, 20 minutes|
|Cabin:||First class suite|
|Redemption points:||54,000 Qantas points (plus $117 NZD in taxes)|
The Emirates First Class Suite is arguably one of the flashiest and most ostentatious first class products available. I’ve been keen to try it out for quite some time and with a stack of Qantas points earned through the American Express Qantas Premium Card , I was ready to book.
After spending Christmas visiting family in New Zealand, I was originally booked to fly home on a Qantas economy ticket. Just a few days out from my intended departure date, a first class seat on Emirates EK419 opened up. I jumped at the opportunity to redeem just 54,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points for the 3 hour 20 minute journey. My infant son (baby Champagne Mile) would be travelling with me, and I was able to book him onto my ticket for no extra charge.
Check in and pre-departure
Upon arrival at Auckland airport, we made a beeline for the dedicated First Class counter. We were soon on our way with our boarding passes, an invite to the Emirates Auckland Lounge and express pass clearance for immigration.
We cleared immigration fairly quickly, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the New Zealand officials allowed me to take baby Champagne Mile through security in his Ergo baby carrier. In Australia, it’s compulsory to take the baby out and place the carrier on the security belt before then re-harnessing the baby. This usually leads to tears and is near on impossible for a parent travelling solo with a bub. We arrived at the lounge with around one hour to kill. At this stage, baby Champagne Mile was sleeping soundly in his carrier, so I figured I had enough time to partake in a glass of champagne (the lounge serves the very respectable Veuve Clicquot NV) and a few nibbles.
The gate was a fairly long walk from the lounge, so we left with plenty of time to spare. I was keen to board early so that I could enjoy a pre-departure glass of Dom Perignon vintage 2006.
The gate was extremely crowded, with many people flying back to Australia following the Christmas break. Fortunately, we were able to board quickly via the dedicated first class line.
Baby Champagne Mile and I were greeted enthusiastically by the crew and shown to our first class suite.
The crew onboard our flight, including Laura from Auckland, were all very excited to meet baby Champagne Mile and to find out that this was our very first flight in an Emirates First Class Suite.
To mark the occasion, the crew took a series of Polaroid photos of baby Champagne Mile and I, which they then presented in three hand written cards.
I was then invited to enjoy my pre-departure glass of Dom Perignon 2006. It was a beautifully balanced and elegant champagne.
The Emirates First Class Suite incorporates a room temperature mini bar which contains a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. While this feature is a bit odd, it proved to be a great place to store baby Champagne Mile’s milk. In theory you shouldn’t need it as crew are always on hand to top up drinks.
Following a smooth takeoff, the seat belt sign was switched off, and the Emirates crew set about mounting the bassinet for baby Champagne Mile, which took just a few minutes. At three months old, baby Champagne Mile was a good size for the bassinet, and he seemed to enjoy his new found space.
Fine Dining in a First Class Suite
Before long, baby Champagne Mile was sleeping soundly and my table was set for dinner. Emirates serves a full three course meal in both Business and First Class Suites on trans-Tasman flights. No caviar was available, as this service is only available for long haul flights.
I commenced my meal with a delicate appetiser of prawn, salmon and tuna. The starter was served with a fresh side salad.
I selected a beef fillet for my main course, but was unable to fit dessert or a cheese plate in. Emirates stocks a good selection of first class wines on board and I enjoyed small tasting glasses of a number. Both the Two Hands Ares Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012, and Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2013 from the Clare Valley were excellent.
Following my meal, I asked to try the Hennessy Paradis cognac. At almost $1000 AUD a bottle, it is an exclusive spirit and arguably the most expensive drop served in the sky by a commercial airline. It did not disappoint!
Shower in the sky
At this stage, there was just an hour of the flight left to go. With baby Champagne Mile sleeping soundly, I left him in Laura’s capable care and went for a quick walk. Around the front of the first class section is the Emirates shower suite. The shower suite is only available to first class passengers, bookable for a 30 minute block once during the flight. During this time, 5 minutes of water can be used. A dedicated shower attendant is on hand to maintain the suite between passengers.
A shower in the sky has been on my bucket list for awhile, but sadly I was unable to try it on this occasion due to caring for baby Champagne Mile. However, it was amazing just to spend a few minutes in the suite.
Returning, I found that the crew had kindly left me a stuffed toy for my toddler back home. A smart Bvlgari amenity kit, presented in a soft white leather pouch was also included.
Returning to my seat, baby Champagne Mile’s bassinet was stowed away in preparation of landing. Before long, the captain announced our descent, and the seat belt sign was promptly switched on. We had a smooth descent into Sydney, and a quick taxi to the gate before disembarking.
All in all, this flight was an excellent introduction to Emirates First Class Suites. And it’s a great use of just 54,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points. I was very impressed by the professionalism of the crew and the quality of the food and beverage offerings. I was also very lucky that baby Champagne Mile slept through most of the flight. Now I’m in the process of planning Emirates first class trip number two!
Emirates have recently launched a new First Class suite on the Dubai to Brussels and Geneva routes. Sadly, the new first class suite isn’t currently able to be booked with frequent flyer points, but we’ll be booking a ticket as soon as award seats are released.